THE next phase of a vast project to demolish the now-closed Fiddler’s Ferry power station has been given the go-ahead.

Fresh plans were submitted in April for the demolition of the remaining structures at the huge industrial complex.

The Cuerdley power station began operations in 1971 and was fully commissioned by 1973, operating for nearly 50 years before its decommissioning in March 2020.

The land was acquired by Peel NRE in July 2022, with the firm behind plans to regenerate the site, which has been earmarked for housing and industrial use following demolition work.

Permission has already been granted for phase one of the demolition process, which is underway and included the blowdown of four iconic cooling towers in December last year.

Applicant Peel NRE submitted plans to Warrington Borough Council seeking approval to begin phase two – and this has now been given the green light.

In documents, it said: “As one of the largest brownfield sites in the region, Fiddler’s Ferry is allocated for mixed-use re-development in the Warrington Local Plan.

“The Local Plan supports the redevelopment of the site for the delivery of approximately 101 hectares of employment land over the plan period, as well as a minimum of 860 new homes.

“Plus, a new primary school, shops, community facilities, land for a potential GP surgery, public open space, an extensive green infrastructure network, transport improvements, ecological mitigation and flood mitigation and drainage.

The next stage of the demolition of Fiddlers Ferry has been approved

The next stage of the demolition of Fiddler's Ferry has been approved

“In order to facilitate the future redevelopment of Fiddler’s Ferry, it will be necessary to demolish the majority of the existing buildings and structures associated with the former power station.

“Peel NRE is demolishing the former power station in a phased manner. Warrington Borough Council granted prior approval for the first phase of demolition in June 2023.

“Phase one comprises the coal stockyard facility, including conveyor systems, plant control and maintenance buildings, the northern cooling towers and admin complex, including offices, canteen, changing rooms and the medical centre, the laboratory and former workshops and stores.

“Phase-one demolition commenced in summer 2023 and is now well advanced. The northern cooling towers were demolished by way of explosive blowdown on December 3, 2023.

“The proposed works include decommissioning, asbestos removal, plant removal, demolition of all buildings and structures down to ground level and cleaning.

“The demolition works will be undertaken by an experienced demolition contractor and will be in accordance with best practice.”

The documents add that the proposed start date for Fiddler’s Ferry power station phase-two demolition works is anticipated to be during quarter two of 2024.

They go on to say that duration of on-site works is estimated to take a minimum of 18 months, however this will be confirmed on appointment of the principal contractor.

The structures in red form part of phase two demolition, with the green buildings to be demolished at a later date

The structures in red form part of phase two demolition, with the green buildings to be demolished at a later date

However, an application form stated that the work is expected to commence from May 31, with the demolition set to be complete by New Year’s Eve.

Documents add: “For the avoidance of doubt, the phase-two demolition works exclude the demolition of the southern cooling towers, main power station chimney stack and the gas turbine building exhaust stack.

“These will be retained in the short-term and form a later phase of demolition, subject to a separate application.”

It is anticipated that the work will mainly be carried out during weekdays. Normal hours are Monday to Friday between 7am and 5pm.

In approving the plans, the council said: “Prior approval has already been granted for works on the northern part of the power station site, including the four cooling towers, and this demolition has taken place.

“This current application is a prior notification application for further phase of demolition.

“The main issue for consideration is whether the local planning authority considers there is a need to control the method of demolition and the site remediation.

“It is considered that the demolition works can be carried out without causing detriment to highway safety, the amenity of nearby occupiers and the visual amenity of the area.”